When OU Housing and Food Services introduced the Laughing Tomato in fall 2008, the community received direct access to natural, locally-grown food. Approximately 15% of the food served at the Laughing Tomato comes from an area farm or small business. By working with the Oklahoma Dept of Agriculture to identify and contract with local produce growers, OU continues to expand sustainable dining options. To name a few current sustainable options, OU offers the items below at many campus restaurants:
- cage-free eggs
- organic fair-trade coffee
- locally produced cheese
- organic beef
- natural and locally grown produce
As a Farm-to-Fork participant, OU's use of seasonal menus and educational materials brings awareness to area farms. Even the dessert station, or Sweet Shoppe, in Couch Restaurants offers locally produced desserts for the OU community.
The Laughing Tomato offers a Weekly Farmers' Market from 10am to 5pm on Fridays consisting of everything from produce to packaged goods supplied by local farmers and vendors, and a few other items to provide customers a wider selections. Cash/Debit/Credit/Meal Plan Points/Sooner Sense accepted methods of payment.
In addition, recent conservation initiatives at campus dining locations include:
- recycled to-go packaging at Crossroads Restaurant
- styrofoam cups at all OU Housing and Food Services retail operations have been replaced with a coated paper cup
- multiple Energy Star rated appliance upgrades within Couch Restaurants renovations to save water and power
- eco-clamshell program enables students to purchase a break-resistant, microwave safe to-go container which can be used throughout the year at Oliver’s in Cate ala Carte